Matthew 6: 9
“‘Our Father in heaven,
The importance of a possessive pronoun, not a personal one but a communal one (been a long time since I did grammar so if I’ve got that wrong apologies all round).
The important thing is not my terminology but Jesus’ in this opening phrase of the Lord’s or Disciples’ prayer, and for ease of writing I shall refer to it only as Lord’s Prayer from now on.
The word to describe God the Father is not My or Mine but Our and that is important beyond imagining for it defines our relationship with God. Nowhere in the Lord’s Prayer do the words I, Me or Mine appear instead it’s We, Us and Our. It also defines our relationship with all other humans.
Our father, a common parent which must in turn mean that we are all related, not as the statisticians tell us we are all at least 13th cousins to everybody else in the World but in fact our relationship is much much closer for we are all brothers and sisters.
This opening phrase tells us God is our father, not a remote vengeful being, not some unapproachable deity, not someone we need to be in fear of but a father, someone we can all relate to (and yes as I have said before not everyone is as lucky as I and many others to have had a great relationship with our fathers – but let us look to the ideal). For God is that ideal father the one with inexhaustible patience, the one with unending reserves of love and just as an ideal father shows no favouritism between his children, so God loves us all equally.
The phrase also reminds us we are all his children we may at times become exasperated with some people and their behaviour but they are also children of God and our brother or sister. Just as God never gives up on them so too we must never give up on them either.
Sometimes though, we need to remind ourselves that we are too a child of God, too often we think we have failed, we are worthless ourselves but we are not for God is our father and he calls us his children and that is a very high calling.
God is mighty majestic, powerful and omnipotent but he remembers all his children by name he has known since before we were born and will know after we depart this worldly existence too.
Lord God our loving Father in Heaven, we are bold to call you Father but know we are safe to do so for you call us your children. Receive then as such with all our frailties failures and miss-step,s and keep us in the grip of your fatherly loving arms.
In your Mercy hear our prayer